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Christian Response to Coronavirus
We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic of the coronavirus. As of this morning, 5:30 am on March 15, 2020, there are 159,367 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world. Of those, there have been 5956 deaths and 76,195 full recoveries.
The world seems to be in an absolute panic about this. Grocery store shelves are empty. Entire countries are closing their borders and most businesses. Here in the United States, we have entire states that are shutting down all large gatherings. Conventional churches are shifting to online webcasts like this for the first time. In short, we are bordering on mass hysteria. But why, and how should we respond?
We have taught many times about facing adversity and obstacles in our lives. We have taught about the Christian perspective to world events. There are also many different theories and thoughts about these events, even from the church. A simple Google search online about Bible and coronavirus brings up all sorts of crazy blogs and teachings. Some are predicting this is part of the apocalypse. Some say this is a result of defying God’s food laws found in Leviticus. Some say this is God’s judgment on the world for ignoring Him or disobeying Him. It is really staggering the thoughts out there.
We would like to share a balanced Christ-centered perspective for what we are facing today and how we can face anything like this in the future.
First, let’s look at what Jesus shares as he talks about the end times. Let’s read Matthew 24:4-14.
(4) Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. (5) For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. (6) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (7) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (8) All these are the beginning of birth pains. (9) “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (10) At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, (11) and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (12) Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (13) but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Some translations include pestilences in with the famines and earthquakes and that is what some people are focusing on with coronavirus. Yes, the coronavirus can be thought of as a pestilence. It is spreading across the world, seemingly unchecked. Yes, as Jesus shares what the end times look like, this could be an indicator. However, he starts out saying in verse 4, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
These indicators of the beginning of the end of days are just that. They are indicators of the beginning. They are not the end. These are the things that tell us to be ready. These are much like seeing the rain clouds far off, so we prepare for rain. We do not know God’s timeline, but we do know the outcome. Look at Matthew 24: 13-14 again.
(13) but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So our first perspective for you as Christians is we must stand firm, no matter the circumstances. We know the end and whenever it comes, we can face it knowing that Jesus stands in front of us and eternity with God is our reward.
The second perspective to have is to not worry. worry seems to be the most prevalent issue right now. The world is worried. I hear it in people’s voices. The news is spreading this worry like a wildfire. I hear it even in some of our ministry leader’s messages. But we need not worry. Let’s read Luke 12:22-32.
(22) Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. (23) For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. (24) Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (25) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (26) Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (27) “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (28) If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you–you of little faith! (29) And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. (30) For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. (31) But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (32) “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Do not be afraid, God will provide all you need. He knows your needs before you do. He knows your days. He even knows all the hairs on your head. Verse 23 says, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” As we face life each day, we must live. We must live a life in Christ with Christ as our focus, not worry and fear. worry and fear are from the devil. worry and fear distract us from the mission God has for us. How we face this and other issues like it is a witness to the world of a life without fear and worry. It is a life in Christ Jesus.
Finally let’s read Philippians 4:6-7.
(6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Friends, don’t be anxious, don’t worry. We all want peace. We all want to dispel fear. Present your requests about this and everything else to God in prayer with thanksgiving. God will bring you peace in the midst of it. That is peace that surpasses all understanding.
Don’t worry. There is far too much worrying going on. Be smart with this virus and use commonsense. Continue to wash your hands well with soap and water. Sneeze and cough into your elbow not out in the open. If you are sick, isolate yourself from others by 6 – 10 feet or 2 – 3 meters so you don’t get others sick until you are better.
We will end our message today with Philippians 6:8.
(8) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.